Al Maqoodi sends warning to Al Fahim with second round success; Shipton claims bikes win but third place keeps Al Balooshi ahead in title race
Dubai, UAE, 29 October, 2014: Ahmad Al Maqoodi powered his way to a convincing cars victory in the Emirates Desert Championship as the national Baja rally series continued on its record-breaking course through the 2014-15 season.
Al Maqoodi took his Polaris buggy to an impressive win in the second round of the championship, sending a warning to fellow-Emirati driver Ahmed Al Fahim that he could face a tough time defending his title.
With Andrey Cherednikov taking second place in a Nissan ahead of Chris Jackson’s Can AM buggy, first round winner Al Fahim had to settle for eighth place in Friday’s short course event in the Margham desert, although he still retained his overall lead in the cars title race.
British rider Jake Shipton stole the show in the bikes battle, winning from Kuwaiti rider Mohammed Jaffar over eight laps, although third place for Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi was just good enough to keep him on top of the overall standings.
It was another landmark day for the Desert Championship, attracting an impressive 135 drivers and riders to shatter the previous best of 100 competitors from the first round three weeks ago.
The series is organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF), with TAG Heuer Middle East as the official timekeeper and founding partner.
“We have a lot of quality in the championship now, and 135 competitors is a big number,” said ATCUAE and EMSF President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
“Under the direction of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare I want to thank all of the competitors for helping to make this the biggest national motor sport series in the Middle East.”
“The signs are that the number of entries will continue to grow, but our priority will always be on safety so we may have to restrict entries at some stage in the future.”
Former Polish bikes star Marek Dabrowski took fourth place overall in the cars. One of today’s brightest stars on two wheels, Sam Sunderland, went out when he crashed into a dune on the seventh lap while leading from close friend and training partner Shipton who went on to win.
Finishing third in the quads division behind fellow-Emirati Mohammed Al Shamsi and Alex MacFarlane, the UAE’s Humaid Al Mashghouni retained his overall championship lead.
Emirates Desert Championship, Round 2 results
- Ahmad Al Maqoodi 9 laps (Polaris);
- Andrey Cherednikov 9 laps (Nissan)
- Chris Jackson 8 laps (Can AM)
- Marek Dabrowski 8 laps (Rage)
- Mohammed Gulzar 8 laps (Polaris)
- Emil Kneisser 8 (Nissan)
T1: Andrey Cherednikov (Nissan); T2: Emil Kneisser (Nissan); T3 Michel Fadel (Polaris); National: Ahmad Al Maqoodi (Polaris).
- Jake Shipton 8laps (KTM)
- Mohammed Jaffar 8 laps (KTM)
- Mohammed Al Balooshi 8 laps ( KTM)
- Sean Gaugain 8 laps (Husqvarna)
- Mark Grams 8 laps (Honda)
- Saeed Al Shenqiti 8 laps (KTM)
450: Jake Shipton (KTM); Marathon: Chris Dunn (KTM); Masters: Tim Trenker (Husqvarna); Over 450: Khalid Al Falasi (Yamaha); Quads: Mohammed Al Shamsi (Yamaha); Ladies: Sune Schaffler (SA) KTM.
Emirates Desert Championship 2014-15 standings after 2nd Round:
- Ahmed Al Fahim (UAE) Polaris 40pts
- Chris Jackson (GB) Can AM 37pts
- Graeme Rose (GB) Polaris 36pts
- Emil Kneisser (Leb) Nissan 34pts
- Ahmad Al Maqoodi (UAE) Polaris 25pts
- Mansour Al Helei (UAE) Nissan 22pts
1. Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE) KTM 45pts
2. Mohammed Jaffar (KWT) KTM 44pts
3. Mark Grams (D) Honda 32pts
4. Saeed Al Shenqiti (UAE) KTM 29pts
5. Mark Ackerman (SA) Husqvarna 28pts
6. Jake Shipton (GB) KTM 25pts